Let’s not mince words: Driving is a dangerous affair. It is so easy to lose life or limb that Millennials are swearing off of driving in droves. They are not even bothering to learn driving as a skill. There is so much that one cannot control from behind the wheel, it is a wonder anyone bothers to do it.

It is all but impossible to protect your car from suffering minor damage. Sometimes, it happens between the car dealership and home. The vehicle in front of you throws a rock and your brand new windshield catches the strike. A spiderweb later and you are looking to replace your windshield. You enter the grocery store for a gallon of milk and come out to find a small dent and a shopping basket nearby looking very guilty.

California is a car culture. That means California drivers are familiar with their local San Diego collision repair shop. Drivers know they can’t protect their vehicle from everything life’s road has to offer. But there are things all drivers can do to make their vehicles a little more safe. Here are a few:

A Dash Cam

It might not be immediately obvious why a dash cam can improve driver safety. But there is something to be said for having a system that provides a record of where you are at any given time. Unlike GPS, a dash cam can be set up to stream in real time. So someone can not only know where your car is, but access a live feed.

While dash cams are popular among truckers, they are useful for everyone. You can set one up in your teens car. That way, you know exactly where it is at all times. It can be useful if you get a bit lost. Someone can access your feed and tell you exactly how to navigate to someplace more familiar. You can never predict when it will come in handy. But when it does, even one time, it will be well worth it.

Emergency Kit

Winter is coming. This is the time of year when driving is even more dangerous. There is the snow you can see and the black ice that you can’t. Do you go with chains or studs? Or do you just trust the overpriced tires that are marketed the heaviest?

Whatever you do, be prepared to drive slower and more defensively. It is not about other people driving badly. They might hit a patch of ice and suddenly swerve into your lane. Keep a little more distance than usual. Also, be prepared for your car to fail you during the worst time and in the worst possible location.

What you need is an emergency car kit. What happens if your car slides off the road and down a slope, getting stuck in the snow? You can’t start the engine. It is dark. And the temperature is south of freezing.

Think about all the things you would need in that situation. And that is what you need to have in your kit. A good kit will minimally contain the following:

  • shovel
  • ice scraper/snow brush
  • blanket(s), or thermal blankets (enough for each person in the car)
  • extra clothing (scarves, hats, gloves, jackets)
  • flashlight
  • extra batteries!
  • bottled water
  • first aid kit
  • non-perishable snacks (granola or energy bars, trail mix, nuts etc)
  • jumper cables
  • hand and feet warmers
  • car phone charger

These items are not just practical. In the right situation, they can save your life.

Back-Up Camera

An ungodly number of people have lost their lives because they backed up into an oncoming vehicle. Less tragic are the countless mailboxes that have met a grizzly fate. Backing up into a street is one of the most dangerous maneuvers a driver does routinely.

Back-up cameras have saved countless lives, and even more mailboxes. Many cars are shipping with them installed. That feature is slowly moving downmarket just like the seatbelt eventually did. If your car doesn’t have one, get one installed. Prioritize the back-up camera over the CarPlay stereo. One is cool. The other will save lives.

No gadget will make driving a completely safe proposition. But you can improve your odds by adding a dash cam, an emergency kit, and a back-up camera.